Paul Evdokimov. I’m giving a couple of talks to a group of Christians in London next weekend, and my goal, basically, is to unpack this quote.
One’s entire vocation is an option, an answer to a call that has been heard. It can simply be the present condition. It is never a voice that clarifies everything. The dimness inherent in faith never leaves us. There is one thing we can be sure of, that every vocation is always accompanied by a renunciation. One who is married renounces monastic heroism; a monk, the married life. The rich young man of the Gospel is not invited either to marry or to enter a monastery. He had to renounce his wealth, his “having,” his preferences, in order to follow the Lord. Likewise, the “eunuchs” for the Kingdom — whatever meaning might be given to this expression — signal a deprivation, a renouncing, a sacrifice. However, in all the cases of deprivation Scripture speaks of, grace offers a gift; out of a negative renunciation it creates a positive vocation. To renounce one thing means to be totally consecrated to another that this very renunciation allows us to realize. It is not a mutilation at all, but a re-making of the “economy” of a being, put at the complete disposal of a new destiny already loved. All aridity of spirit results from sublimations that are badly assumed, from the forced maimings of a vocation that was poorly understood, from a disguised, paralyzing refusal. From these various modes of inauthenticity where life has no meaning, a passage to a world of true life opens up.
All men seek knowledge, power, joy. Only joy is sufficient unto itself. It comprises and surpasses everything, because it is the symphony of Meaning found, of the “one thing needful” about which the Gospel speaks.
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